SUPERIOR — The Monarch hockey team won’t be spending much time at home the rest of the season. But the Coyotes piled up enough highlights to tide their home fans over for awhile.
The Coyotes routed Foothills League rival Standley Lake 8-3 on Friday night at Boulder Valley Ice, fueled by three goals and five assists apiece from Walker Harris and Cameron Taggart.
The victory marked the second in a row for the third-ranked Coyotes (9-1, 5-1) since a loss to No. 1 Ralston Valley. But the win was important not just for momentum but also because it’s the last the Coyotes will play at home for awhile. Monarch’s next five games in a row and eight of its final nine are on the road. The closing stretch includes road games against No. 4 Regis, No. 5 Cherry Creek and No. 7 Columbine.
“The fans helped,” Taggart said. “They got us going, pumped us up and Walker and I just kind of clicked.”
Standley Lake (5-6-1, 3-4), a state quarterfinalist a year ago, has struggled of late against a brutal slate of its own. Still, the Gators entered Friday just outside the top 10 in the CHSAANow.com poll.
The Gators answered within a minute each time when Monarch started the first and second periods with quick goals, with Elijah King and Topher Carroll doing their best to keep Standley Lake close.
But Monarch’s top line simply couldn’t be slowed.
Up 4-2 after Carroll’s goal, the Coyotes reeled off three straight to make it 7-2. Goal number six, by Dima Kyle, chased Standley Lake starting goalie Ryan Young. Goal number seven, by Taggart off a rebound, welcomed backup goalie Joshua Benton to the ice less than 6 minutes later.
Harris and Taggart had a hand in each of Monarch’s eight goals, with both notching career nights for points.
Harris’s first tally of the game came just 18 seconds after Standley Lake’s King had tied it at 1-1. His next made it 3-1. And his third started the second period to make it 4-1.
Taggart’s final score, off a breakaway early in the third, merely cemented the victory, making the score 8-3. Drew Wagner added three assists and DJ Burnett also had a goal.
“Standley is always one of those teams you can’t take lightly but you know you should beat,” Walker said. “And we played well today.”
Monarch was solid on the back end for most of the night, with Standley Lake notching a pair of goals on the power play. Coyotes goalie Baily Aust finished with 13 saves. The Coyotes killed three of five Standley Lake power plays, including a 4-minute one in the third period when things started getting tense between the squads.
Monarch coach Jimmy Dexter, whose squad has battled injuries all season, said the other positive coming out of Friday night is that the Coyotes have their full lineup back at practices. Defenseman Tim Morton and forward Mattijs Ossorio were both cleared to practice this week and could be ready for game action next week.
“That’s huge for us, too, to have everybody healthy,” Dexter said.
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Monarch 8, Standley Lake 3
At Boulder Valley Ice Center
Stan. Lake (5-6-1, 3-4) 1 2 0 — 3
Monarch (9-1, 6-1) 3 4 1 — 8
Goals (assists) — Monarch: Burnett (Harris, Taggart), pp, 4:03; Standley Lake: King, (unassisted), pp, 5:44; Monarch: Harris (Taggart, Wagner), 6:02; Monarch: Harris (Taggart, Wagner), 10:33; Monarch: Harris (Taggart, Miller), 18:01; Standley Lake: Carroll (Karlson, Coca), 18:58; Monarch: Taggart (Harris), 21:03; Monarch: Kyle (Taggart, Harris), pp, 22:52; Monarch: Taggart (Kyle, Harris), 28:30; Standley Lake: K. Young (Ackerman), pp, 30:59; Monarch: Taggart (Harris, Wagner), 35:54.
Goalies (Min-goals allowed-Saves) – Standley Lake: R. Young (23-6-18), Benton (28-2-22) Monarch: Aust (51-3-13).